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Alexander Kazimirovich Tolush vs Isaac Boleslavsky
USSR Championship (1945), Moscow URS, rd 15, Jun-25
Trompowsky Attack: General (A45)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Premium Chessgames Member
  technical draw: It's a good game. But the greatest game of all time? Not even close. White just made too many mistakes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: 5.Qd5?! is a bizarre move for such a strong player as Tolush to make in preferenece to 5.Nf3 or 5.Nd2

17.Qd3! Qxd3+ 18.Kxd3 Bb5+ 19.Ke4 Bc6+ 20.Kf4 would give Tolush a chance of a draw

20...Bb5+! seems an even quicker win 21.Qxb5 (21.Kf3 Rxd4 22.exd4 Qe3+) 21...Rxd4 22.exd4 Nxd4+ 23.Kf2 Nxb5

25...g5+ is an extravagent mate: 26.Kxh5 Qh8+ 27.Kxg5 Bh6+ 28.Kh4 Bxf4+ 29.Kg4 Rg8+ 30.Kxf4 Qh6+ 31.Kf5 Qf6 is mate

Tolush's play was too weak to make this a great game, and after move 17 Boleslavsky had no significant problems to overcome.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: Boleslavsky included it in his "Selected Games" but I agree with <technical draw>. It's not the greatest game of all time.
Dec-01-03  Spitecheck: Maybe Khalifman respected the concepts, white, at black's invitation dances around with his queen for awhile....than black gets his chance and every move made is basically on the orders of the advanced queen, who is operating a bit like a magnet.

However, I agree, immortal it ain't, but that's on first inspection, perhaps it's the games that weren't played in it that made it special. A case where the annotations are far more interesting than the actual game.


May-14-04  nutsaboutchess: Perhaps we arent strong enough( GM or IM level) to fully appreciate the beauty of this game. There may be some inner detail or concept which we may have overlooked.

Also, I think it would do well to note the date as 1945. We must remember that it was an age of trial and error if you will and perhaps thats why khaliffman likes the game so much. I think he appreciates black's innovative play at this stage in the chess saga.

Jun-07-04  Eatman: The game does remind a bit of today's supercalculated efforts (ala crazy Shirov games) than mid 1940-50s fights. Both players dont mind the unbalanced position here. So maybe Khalifman thought this was a forerunner to the state of chess today. But then again I am just a FM so what do i know. :)
Dec-10-05  thesonicvision: <Eatman> 2382 FIDE is very impressive in my opinion.

Anyway, I favored Black as early as

Oct-10-06  sheltone: This game is book until move 12, Qd5 is not an error at all. White's 17th is the error, shoulda played Qd3.
Apr-08-08  diabloprancer: Why does black play 15...d4 ?
Apr-08-08  Karpova: Some comments on this game may become clearer after providing the following information:

Book: "Interview with a Grandmaster"
Authors: Aaron & Claire Summerscale

From Randy Bauer's review:

<The book’s format is simple: after an introduction that provides a brief background on the chapter’s focus, the authors pose questions to nine (generally) world class grandmasters. They also ask the player to present their best game, and their choice for the best game ever played.>

<[...] the games they picked for the greatest game of all time weren’t exactly big surprises. [...] while the only fairly unknown games were Khalifman’s selection of Tolush-Boleslavsky from Moscow 1945 [...]>

Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: <sheltone: This game is book until move 12, Qd5 is not an error at all. White's 17th is the error, shoulda played Qd3 > I have two books on the Trompovsky; this line is not mentioned in either. 3 dxc is rarely played because it gives White little chance at achieving an advantage. 5 Qd5? seems to be close to losing overlooking 5..f5!. Tolush had set an interesting trap. If 15..Bd7 then 16 Nh3..Bb5+ 17 Kf3..Bxf1 18 Rxf1..Qxf1 19 Qa4+ Kf7 20 Ng5+..Kg8 21 Qf4 and wins. Bolslavsky's 15..d4! eliminated the check on a4 if White recaptures on d4 with the bishop or the pawn. If 17 Nh3..0-0-0 18 Qb4..Qd1+! mates - pretty! Boleslavsky incluses 3 wins with Black against the Trompovsky from this tournament - it must have been "trendy" then (though not very successful)).
Premium Chessgames Member
  plang: Taimanov's book on the Soviet Championships attributes this win to Bondarevsky but I am pretty sure that is an error. Bondarevsky and Boleslavsky both defeated Tolush in this tournament but Bondarevsky's win is not in the database.
Jan-16-09  Karpova: <plang>

[Event "URS-ch14"]
[Site "Moscow RUS"]
[White "Tolush, Alexander Kazimirovich"]
[Black "Bondarevsky, Igor"]
[Date "1945.?.?"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A47"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.e3 b6 3.Bd3 Bb7 4.Nf3 c5 5.Nbd2 Nc6 6.a3 e6 7.O-O Be7 8.b3 O-O 9.Bb2 d6 10.Qe2 Nd7 11.Rad1 Qc7 12.Ne4 d5 13.Ng3 Na5 14.c4 Nf6 15.dxc5 bxc5 16.Qc2 h6 17.Qc3 Qb6 18.Bc2 dxc4 19.Rd7 Rfe8 20.bxc4 Bxf3 21.gxf3 Nxc4 22.Ba1 Nd6 23.Ne4 Ndxe4 24.Bxe4 Bf8 25.Rd2 Nxe4 26.fxe4 e5 27.f4 Qg6+ 28.Rg2 Qxe4 29.fxe5 Re6 30.Rf4 Qb1+ 31.Rf1 Qe4 32.Rf4 Qb1+ 33.Rf1 Qb6 34.Qc4 Rd8 35.Bc3 Rd7 36.Qg4 Qb3 37.Bd2 Rxd2 38.Rxd2 Qxe3+ 39.Rff2 Rg6 40.Qxg6 fxg6 41.Rd8 Qg5+ 0-1

Oct-18-09  vonKrolock: after 15.(<♔e2>

click for larger view

The actual <15...d4>, very atractive, was maybe a slight incorrection - after the only ▢ move 16.♕xd4 ♗d7 white (as pointed out by <Chessical> above) missed some chances for a draw, then try instead 15...♗d7! 16.♘h3!? (pointed out by ♗oleslavsky himself in his analysis and quoted above) and now 16...d5-d4!! 17.♕xd4 (again the lesser evil) 17...♖d8!

click for larger view

with and overwhelming position

Premium Chessgames Member
  Naniwazu: Black could also have played 8...Qa5+ 9. c3 Nd4! 10. Na3 Nf5 11. Qg4 Nfg3! 12. Qxg3 Nxg3 13. hxg3 Bg7 14. O-O-O Bxc3!
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